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The Global Seed Conservation Challenge (GSCC) is a major new intitiative of BGCI. The GSCC will increase the contribution of botanic gardens towards the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) which seeks to halt the continuing loss of plant diversity.

Target 8 of the GSPC calls for '75% of threatened plant species in ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin and at least 20% available for recovery and restoration programmes'. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s mid-term review of the GSPC highlighted that more needs to be done if the 2020 targets are to be achieved.

Ex situ collections of plant species act as an insurance against extinction in the wild while being available for research, reintroduction and restoration. Botanic gardens are the main institutions involved in ex situ conservation of threatened species with nearly one third of all known plants grown in botanic gardens.

More than 400 botanic gardens worldwide are banking seed for conservation.